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Dead Man's Bones

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When Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields met in Toronto in 2005 they wanted to hate each other. The two were dating sisters and resented the forced time they were expected to spend with one another, until a conversation stumbled upon their mutual obsession with the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. Zach was so preoccupied with ghosts as a kid that he was put into therapy, and Ryan parents moved out of his childhood home because they believed it was haunted. Neither of them had really outgrown their fascination with ghosts, monsters, graveyards, zombies or anything deathly. Once they realized their shared affinity for the eerie, they started trying to write a theatrical monster ghost love story for the stage. They decided that this story should have music so they began learning how to play various instruments. By the time they had written their first few songs they realized how difficult it would be and how much money it would cost to create the show. They decided to continue with the music and put the play aside. Some of their sounds reflected the music they listened to—a little bit of doo-wop and artists such as The Shangri-Las, The Shags, The Cure, Company Flow, Sam Cooke, The Misfits, James Brown, Bobby Vinton, Joy Division, The Andrew Sisters and Daniel Johnston, to name a few.

Zach and Ryan were also individually inspired by two musical programs of the past. Ghetto Reality is a 60’s musical masterpiece conceptualized by Nancy Dupree (an inner-city school music teacher in Zach’s hometown of Rochester, New York).

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